Each has a special ability suited to his skills – Franklin can to slow time while driving, for example – which gives them a unique touch.
The attention to detail that goes into making its world feel alive and believable is also what makes its satire so biting.
Grand Theft Auto V’s plot happily operates at the boundaries of plausibility, sending you out to ride dirt bikes along the top of trains, hijack military aircraft, and engage in absurd shootouts with scores of policemen, but its three main characters are what keep it relatable even at its most extreme.
Michael is a retired con man in his 40s, filling out around the middle as he drinks beside the pool in his Vinewood mansion with a layabout son, air-headed daughter, serially unfaithful wife, and very expensive therapist – all of whom hate him.
Franklin is a young man from downtown Los Santos who laments the gang-banger stereotype even as he’s reluctantly seduced by the prospect of a bigger score.
The cars handle less like their tires are made of butter and stick better to the road, though their exaggerated handling still leaves plenty of room for spectacular wipeouts.
And at long last, Rockstar has finally slain one of its most persistent demons, mission checkpointing, ensuring that you never have to do a long, tedious drive six times when you repeatedly fail a mission ever again.In doing so, it sidesteps some of the troubling disconnect that arose when Niko Bellic abruptly alternated between anti-violent philosophising and sociopathic killing sprees in GTA IV.Here, many of Michael’s missions revolve around his family and his past, Franklin is usually on call for vehicular mayhem, and extreme murderous rampages are left to Trevor.Grand Theft Auto’s San Andreas is a fantasy, but the things it satirises – greed, corruption, hypocrisy, the abuse of power – are all very real.If GTA IV was a targeted assassination of the American dream, GTA V takes aim at the modern American reality.The first thing I did when Franklin finally made some good money was buy him an awesome car, because I felt like that’s what he’d want.